Chicken Sweet Corn: Soup For The Soul

The classic chicken and corn soup recipe doesn’t even belong to China, as most mistakenly believe. Neither is sweet corn extensively used in Chinese cuisine. It is actually an amended version of the Crab and Corn soup made in the American Chinese cuisine. It is believed that when Chinese immigrants arrived in the US, they set up small hotels and restaurants in the areas they inhabited and what later came to be called Chinatowns. It is these restaurants that began modifying the cuisine to suit the bland American palate, using the local ingredients – one of them being sweet corn, which was extensively grown there. 

And that is precisely where the Chicken and Corn soup originated. In Dutch Pennsylvania, North America, the soup came to be served at social gatherings and festivals all year round, around the early 1800s. Although there are people who relish their sweet corn soup in China, it is an Americanized dish. Since the corn isn’t native to India either the recipe, after it reached the subcontinent, was modified to include more flavourful ingredients like soy sauce, chilli sauce, green chillies in vinegar to accommodate the spice loving Indian palate. 

Preparation time: 15-20 minutes

Cooking: 15-20 minutes

Serves: 2 


  • 1 ½ cup corn kernels (boiled). 
  • 200 gms – boneless chicken breast (which has been poached and shredded up - save the chicken stock from the poached chicken. For use in the soup later) 
  • 1 tbsp – flavourless oil 
  • 1 tbsp – spring onions (white)
  • 1 tbsp – celery (finely chopped)
  • 1½ tsp - garlic (minced)
  • 3 cups - Veg stock or chicken stock (which already may have some salt and pepper)
  • 1 tsp - black pepper (crushed)
  • salt to taste
  • 1 tsp – sugar 
  • 1 tbsp – corn flour & water (as slurry)
  • 2 - egg whites
  • spring onions for garnishing


  1. Put half of the corn kernels in a blender with a little bit of water and blend to a smooth paste
  2. Add oil to a pan, and put in the whites of spring onions, celery, garlic
  3. When garlic releases its flavour, add corn paste to the above mixture, stir well – all the while keeping a low flame
  4. Add veg or chicken stock (whichever is available), salt and pepper as per taste
  5. Mix in the corn kernels and let the soup come to a slow boil
  6. Add shredded chicken and the sugar 
  7. Now add just a little cornflour slurry and mix it well. The slurry gives the soup its rich sheen 
  8. Now drop in the egg whites, very gradually so that they keep mixing into the soup and are cooked simultaneously. Make sure the flame is turned to low when doing this step  
  9. Finally, sprinkle the greens of spring onions on top
  10. In true Indian style, serve hot with green chillies in vinegar and soy sauce on the side

Sweet corn is rich in fibre which aids digestion. It is also rich in Vitamin C and is an antioxidant which prevents cell damage.